June 14, 2013
Delaware, once the home of manufacturer Flxible, still has a company in town with ties to the bus industry.
North American Bus Industries Inc. (NABI) houses its Aftermarket Parts Operations in a 215,000-square-foot building along U.S. 42. NABI is based in Anniston, Ala., and makes city buses.
Shannon R. Young, now executive vice president at NABI, said he worked for 22 years at Flxible in its parts operation when he and his fellow employees were faced with a decision.
“When Flxible went out of business, we decided we wanted to stay together,” Young said to a group of Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce members who were touring the warehouse on April 18. “So I went around to the different bus original equipment manufacturers and made presentations, and we decided to go with North American Bus Industries.”
NABI, thanks to Young and other former Flxible employees, has had a presence in Delaware for 17 years at several facilities.
“We looked in other locations and we just liked this area, and the city’s been good to us,” Young said.
There are 55 people working in the facility, which is a combined parts operation with sister company Bluebird, the school bus maker. “We have over 900 years experience in this operation,” Young said. “People have worked together for a long time.”
Young said NABI’s aftermarket sales have experienced sharp growth since coming to Delaware. “We sell to every city in the country that operates a transit bus,” he said.
The chamber members were given a tour of the warehouse after most of the NABI employees had gone home for the afternoon. They saw a variety of bus parts, such as windshields and bumpers, stored on multistory shelves that nearly reached the 28-foot-high ceiling. They saw how small parts are stored efficiently in a Remstar, which holds the parts on movable racks that can be accessed with the touch of a button.
The warehouse also had lighting that switched itself off if no one is detected in a section for 15 minutes.
“We put fluorescent lights in a year ago,” Young said. “It saved about 85 percent of our electricity costs.”
Young said NABI stresses cleanliness and safety, citing few complaints during visits from corporate headquarters and a low incident of worker injuries.
Berni Dodeci, the chamber’s Safety Council Program Manager, said after the tour, “NABI is one of our members, and we appreciate them. They allowed our fellow members to tour and learn more about the safety in the warehouses.”
In recent years, NABI was named “Large Business of Year” by the chamber, Young said.